30 Days with Wesley – Day 15: Grave Opener

grave(Optional Reading: Ezekiel 37:12-14)

One the biggest and toughest questions to answer is: “Why do bad things happen?” Today, we see pain and destruction all over the place. We see broken families, countries at war, people being taken advantage of and hurt. Why?

Sadly, I am not able to answer that question. Some say that God puts hard times in our lives to help shape us into who He wants us to be. Others would argue that a loving God would not choose to allow terrible and evil things to happen to someone. Which is the right answer? It is not perfectly clear. 

I believe that evil in this world is a result of the cause and effect nature of our God given free will. Every choice we make has an affect on others around us. We never make decisions in a vacuum.

Paul writes in Romans 8:28, “We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.” I can say with confidence, wherever you are and whatever you are going through, God can use it to bring good about in your life.

I don’t want to say this is the cure all and just glaze over every evil and hard thing that someone might be facing and say… Suck it up… God will turn it to good. Just because God is going to work for the good doesn’t always make enduring the evil easy. but may this truth possibly bring a sliver a hope to you if you need it today.

Ezekiel writes of the God who opened the philosophical graves of Israel and restore them to their fruitful land. Perhaps you are in a situation today where you feel emotionally dead. May you know that God is seeking to open up the grave of your heart and restore you to your fruitful self. Know that, God is working to bring about good from your situation.

Before, I finish this post with the Lord’s prayer, it should be said that I believe God also works through other people who can help individuals in different situations. If you are someone reading this and you are in the midst of a situation that you need help (bullying, abuse, harassment, etc) or any personal/emotional struggles (addictions, depression, etc), please seek professional help and support. You do not need to face these struggles alone.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.

30 Days With Wesley – Day 8: Identity Order

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(Optional Reading: Ezekiel 36:25-28)

What is your identity order? We all have one. In my senior year of college, I worked as a barista at Starbucks. On every Starbucks cup there are six little boxes. Each box represents something different, and something you had to learn very quickly was how to read the markings on a Starbucks cup and be able to call out a drink properly.

I don’t know if Starbucks still trains this way or not, but to properly describe your drink, you explain everything you want in each box from the top to the bottom. I would yell out things like, “We need a Decaf, Non-fat, Latte for Luke!” or when people were really ambitious, “We need a Triple shot, six pump vanilla, non-fat, with whip Latte.” Before some coffee pro yells at me in the comments, trust me, I know that Lattes are all about the foam on top, but people would order whip on Lattes a lot. It blew my mind.

Each drink had an proper order to what it was. In life, we have things I call Identity orders. What are you known for and in what order? I try to live by the one at the top of this webpage. It says, “Christian – Husband – Father – Church Leader.” This is a order identity. 

As Christians, we need to find our identity within Jesus and then everything else falls under that. The key question we need to ask ourselves is, where does Jesus fall within our identity order. It is really a question of priority. 

God may we live a life that centers around you. May you be the foundation for our identity and understanding of who we are.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.